Dear Di,

I’ve been in a loving relationship with my girlfriend for over two years. Although I’m happy with how things are going, I find myself occasionally being attracted to other people. Nothing’s happened outside of my relationship, but I feel guilty when I start fantasizing about someone who isn’t my girlfriend. Is there something wrong with me?

—Casual Crush

Dear CC,

Even for people in a relationship, the occasional crush is not uncommon. Unfortunately, humans don’t really have control over their feelings, which means it’s totally normal for you to be experiencing this, especially in a long-term relationship. Remember that being committed to someone does not mean you are forbidden from finding other people attractive. Love cannot physically blind you, nor can it prevent you from objectively thinking that someone is good-looking.

Unless you feel like cheating on your girlfriend, being attracted to other people shouldn’t be setting off any alarm bells.

But if you are seriously considering being unfaithful to your partner, then you might need to reconsider your relationship.

In this case, think about what could be pulling you away from your girlfriend, and what you find in others that you don’t find in her. You may discover that crushing on strangers may be the product of a lack of interest for your current partner.

Another solution would be to try creating distance between you and your crush, and see how that goes. For all you know, you might not really have feelings for this person, and just find yourself to be physically attracted to them, no strings attached.

If all else fails, you might also want to consider trying an open relationship. Of course, this can be a little tricky, but your girlfriend might be game to give it a test run. Whatever you do, make sure to communicate with your girlfriend before doing anything rash. Remember, although you don’t have control over your feelings, you still have control over your actions.

Love,

Di


Dear Di,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for over three years. We still love each other, but I’ve been wanting to sleep with other people. We both agreed that we want to get into an open relationship, but don’t really know how to go about it. Any advice?

—Swingers for Beginners

Dear SB,

You and your boyfriend are experiencing something that is increasingly normal, as polyamorous relationships are becoming less taboo. You’d be surprised by how many couples have considered them as an alternative to strictly monogamous relationships.

In order for this to go smoothly, you’ll want to make sure that you and your partner reach a consensus about the type of open relationship you want to engage in. “Open” bears a different meaning across different relationships, ranging from swinging to polyamory to monogamish, and many more. By establishing the kind of open relationship you and your boyfriend want, the transition away from strict monogamy will be a lot easier.

After zeroing in on your new framework, you’ll also want to establish some ground rules. Try asking yourselves questions such as: do I want to know when my partner has sex with someone else? If we live together, do I want him to have partners over when I’m around? Can we sleep with people within our circle of friends? Try to take different factors into consideration before jumping into anything. It’s better to be prepared for any possibilities from the get-go than to just see what happens.

Plus, it bears repeating that regardless of the relationship you guys decide on, make sure you and your partner are using protection when hooking up with other people.

But before jumping into anything, I would advise that you both reflect on why you want to open up your relationship in the first place. Because you definitely don’t want to use polygamy as a way to not deal with a breakup. Make sure you are both clear on your motivations and intentions before switching things up.

Love,

Di